Pet Passion: Tabby and Jack’s aims to provide natural pet food, holistic personal care | Business

For four-legged friends and young children in Oregon, there is a new place for their nutritional and caring needs.

Tabby and Jack’s, a pet food and groomer store, has opened at 856 Janesville Street. This is Oregon resident Michelle Lonergan’s sixth location, but the first in her home.

The store, which opened March 29, joins locations in Fitchburg, Madison, Middleton, Stoughton and Sun Prairie. There will be a big sales opening during the entire month of May.

Lonergan has two words that connect it to its growing chain of business – healthy and holistic – as an alternative to the typical pet store.

All foods sold in the store should not contain corn, wheat, soy, or animal by-products.

This means that many of the less discerning brands of pet parents have never seen before such as Primal, Orijen, Fromm, Northwest Naturals, NutriSource and Farmina.

“Small companies, not big conglomerates,” Lonergan told the Observer. “If they also have a human food line, I don’t trust them.”

Even some well-known brands of natural dog food like Blue Buffalo are too big for it.

Fromm, Tabby and Jack’s best-selling food brand, is a Wisconsin-based company.

Other foods are sourced from around the world, such as air-dried dog food from New Zealand’s Ziwi.

Lonergan said natural foods allow pet owners to alternate sources of protein, helping to avoid pets developing food allergies, but without upsetting their pets’ stomachs like switching between certain foods.

Aside from the rows of shelves filled with food, there are also refrigerators with fresh dog food as well as raw toppings to add to dry food like goat’s milk and bone broth, which Lonergan compares to covering a bowl of cereal with fruit.

Bocce’s Bakery Natural Treats for Dogs are a popular ingredient, and they come in unique flavors like bedtime tea and turmeric latte.

To satisfy a dog’s desire to chew, there are Canophera wooden sticks made from untreated woods such as olives or coffee trees, intended to replace chewing bones or sticks found in yards.

Lonergan said the grooming service is offered daily in the store, but it has already been booked for about two weeks. Director of Personal Care Services, Kelsey Keys, is also an Oregonian.

Keyes is an internationally certified esthetician and pet groomer who is also trained in CPR for animals.

Lonergan said all of the nanny go through an orientation program to learn the shop’s grooming techniques. Nearly 30 people have completed this training over the years.

“We love training our cleaners because we can train them the right way,” Longergan said.

A dog being groomed at Tabby & Jack’s.

One of those overarching philosophies includes that the shorter a pet’s time in the salon, the better.

In some large department store pets, all animals scheduled for that day must arrive in the morning and be kept in cages all day until they are due.

At Tabby and Jack’s, the animal is usually ready to be picked after an hour, not in a cage.

They are never dried in a cage dryer, they are dried by hand.

Lonergan said the nanny uses shampoo and conditions that are not harsh.

The team can groom any breed of cat or dog – even those with double coats – and offer baths, manicures and teeth scrubs without anesthesia.

“This is an all-encompassing option rather than putting your dog under water, especially for seniors, to protect sensitive organs,” Lonergan said.

Part of the grooming training program, she said, includes holistic mindset education.

“We teach them how to keep their energy neutral so they don’t get frustrated,” she said. “Animals react to our energy, so we teach the groomer to take care of maintaining a positive attitude. It is not always the easiest, but it is something they recognize.”

Keys said that because there has been an increase in antisocial animals due to the pandemic, it is important that animal keepers help build relationships with their customers.

In order to get your personal grooming services up and running right away, Lonergan is not hiring a new nanny but instead is rotating an experienced hair groomer through the Oregon site.

This means that some of its current clients who traveled to Stoughton and Fitchburg for services are now coming to the Oregon area.

Despite its fear of breaking up the business from other locations, Lonergan has yet to see a drop in customers at its other locations.

She believes that some Oregonians who used to go to her other stores only once a month now shop at Tabby and Jack’s more often because they have a store closer to home.

For Lonergan, pets are more than just a family – they come from a family that loves pets. When Michelle was 11 years old, her mother started at Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary in Rockford, Illinois.

She spent a lot of Saturday mornings as a child helping clean cages, feeding the animals, taking dogs for walks, and helping to outfit the incoming dogs with haircuts and baths.

After spending 15 years after college working as a lender banker, Michelle decided she wanted to start her own business.

Her parents had set up a wholesale pet food business during that time, from which she sourced some food.

“I am very passionate about pet feeding,” Lonergan said.


Dog food racks.

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